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28 Mar 2012
By Peter Blasina
Mar
28
2012

Connected Seniors on a Magical Mystery Tour of the Internet

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I’ve been hosting Telstra Connected Seniors sessions for more than two years now and seeing the delight in seniors’ faces when they master a new technology never fails to excite me.

The hot workshop at the moment is the information-rich and fun “Magical Mystery Tour of the Internet”, a workshop that introduces the seniors to a variety of websites, web tips and navigation tools.

All this is achieved with each participant using an iPad. The ability to navigate the web with an index finger rather than a keyboard and mouse, means that seniors are confidently surfing around the web via search and web address in five minutes.

The workshops are supported by the enthusiastic and tireless local teams that now have a ‘secret sauce’ ingredient that has pushed them to a new level of involvement and fun.

Peter Blasina at a Connected Seniors workshopWorking together with local high schools, students are invited to attend and assist the seniors in the workshop. This has added a completely new dimension to the workshops,not to mention the opportunity I have to present to the school students in their general assembly on the contentious issues of cyber-safety, maintaining an online reputation, or the damage caused by cyber-bullying

At each workshop, students have two designated seniors who they partner with at the event. I introduce them to the seniors as “Digital Natives” who are there to assist as they are innately conversant with the technology.

The interaction has been remarkable – a complete role reversal – where the students take on the mantle of knowledge providers and the seniors take on the role of learners. It’s all hugs and warm handshakes when the sessions finish.

The seniors love the novelty of the interaction with the students and the assistance they provide in tackling the challenges of unfamiliar technology. In turn we see the students gain a great deal of self esteem and confidence while they ‘hand-hold’ the seniors across both the digital and generational divide. Personally, I get a huge buzz out of watching the seniors navigating the web with confidence. The lights go on and they “get it”. For many, it’s the first time they have navigated the web on their own and felt like they could master the technology.

How do you stay connected and master new technologies?

iPad is a trademark of Apple Inc.

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